The following is my transcription of a portion of a several year old “Dividing Line” broadcast by James White. Dr. White was playing sound-clips of William Lane Craig’s comments on Roman Catholicism and interjecting his own comments in between Craig’s comments.
William Lane Craig (WLC): So the fact that I have some disagreements with Catholics, and therefore could not, I think, in all good conscience be a Catholic myself, isn’t to say that I regard Catholics as somehow subchristian or unchristian anymore than I think Presbyterians and Episcopalians are.
James White (JW): So, there you go. That’s why he doesn’t have any problem using the Council of Trent’s soteriology as the blueprint that he just tweaks according to his taste in regards to the gospel. It’s not a false gospel. They’re just as saved as an Episcopalian or a Presbyterian is…it’s just some…just some differences of opinion…I would love to hear how a Roman Catholic responds to that…because…that does not show a meaningful understanding of Rome’s own claims. I mean Rome isn’t saying were just some other denomination. ‘This is mother church.’ And some of these groups he’s mentioning aren’t even considered to be true churches from Rome’s perspective — they do not even have a valid ecclesiology.
But…most important thing is…the gospel. Can’t define it well enough. Can’t define it clearly enough…to even identify Rome’s gospel — with it’s mass and purgatory and indulgences…and everything else — that’s not enough to actually violate the gospel.
And James White cannot identify the adherents of the Arminian gospel — with their denial of God’s sovereignty, their dishonoring of every attribute of God’s redemptive character, and their vilifying of the Person and work of Christ — as violators worthy of the anathema of God (Galatians 1:8-9).
What the Arminian gospel and the gospel of Rome have in common is the belief that Christ’s atonement, in and of itself, does NOT atone apart from the sinner’s efforts. Thus they BOTH agree in positing ADDITIONAL grounds of acceptance with God. Is this not exactly what the Judaizers in Galatia were doing in a MUCH MORE subtle manner than Arminians and Roman Catholics? The heretical founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Synagogue of Satan wrote this concerning the Judaizers in Galatia:
“But what was the difference between the teaching of Paul and the teaching of the Judaizers? What was it that gave rise to the stupendous polemic of the Epistle to the Galatians? To the modern Church the difference would have seemed to be a mere theological subtlety. About many things the Judaizers were in perfect agreement with Paul. The Judaizers believed that Jesus was the Messiah; there is not a shadow of evidence that they objected to Paul’s lofty view of the person of Christ. Without the slightest doubt, they believed that Jesus had really risen from the dead” (J. Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism, p. 23).
Would not a fortiori reasoning compel James White to accuse the apostle Paul of a “Perfection of Knowledge Required for Salvation” heresy? Of course it would. Marc D. Carpenter stated:
“In order for the Judaizers to have infiltrated a true church, they must have sounded very orthodox. They would not have come out and promoted blatant heresy. They are ones who “stole in” (“crept in unawares” -KJV) as in Jude 4. Thus, the Judaizers must have been much more subtle than Arminians. No believer would be deceived by someone who preached universal atonement; the universal atonement advocates would have been thrown out of the church.”
Thus, James White’s assertion that the judging of Arminians to be lost is a “Perfection of Knowledge Required for Salvation” heresy is absurd. I mean, the Arminians have not even a semblance of orthodoxy on the most basic and elemental teaching of Scripture — the Godhood of God. Their doctrine of “god” is a clear rendition of counting the Potter as the clay (Isaiah 29:16). They are sedulous slaves to their own idolatrous figments and risible reveries that are “by nature not being gods” (Galatians 4:8).
“Gather yourselves and come; draw near together, escaped ones of the nations; the ones who set up the wood of their carved image, and the ones who pray to a god who cannot save; they know nothing” (Isaiah 45:20).
Ugh. More Perfection of Knowledge stuff advocated by Isaiah of all people. It is quite apparent that Isaiah does not
“recognize the difference between 1) ignorance, 2) error based upon tradition and ignorance, 3) inconsistency, and 4) knowing rejection of the truth. Unlike the wonderful black-and-white world of [Isaiah], I live in the real, flesh-and-blood world where you have the messy reality of God’s truth encountering imperfect, sinful human beings. … the vast majority of those who trust in [their carved image] have not a clue what [Isaiah] is harping about here in the first place. They only know that they are sinners and Jesus is the only Savior. Is it inconsistent, ultimately, to believe [in a god who cannot save], as less than biblical views of the atonement would indicate? Of course. But thankfully, inconsistency based upon [knowing nothing and praying to a god who cannot save] is not a hindrance to [the God of Isaiah’s] work of salvation: He will work in the hearts of [those who set up the wood of their carved image] in His own time, in His own way. It is my job to speak the truth, His to save His people. It is not [Isaiah’s] to become the judge, jury, and executioner of those who trust in [a god who cannot save].” (James White).
What? Yes. THAT is White’s reasoning. And, yes. It is THAT stupid.
WLC: So, we could talk…of areas myself where I cannot in good conscience affirm Catholic doctrine. But —
JW: ‘I cannot in good conscience, affirm Catholic doctrine.’ Dr. Craig, could you in good conscience agree with the Apostle Paul that there is anything that’s anathema? What would be anathema in the gospel? What were the Judaizers doing, Dr. Craig, that the Roman Catholics haven’t tripled? quadrupled? What were they doing? Was Paul just over-the-top when he anathematized the Judaizers in Galatia? Or is it just adding circumcision? You can add all sorts of other things. The entire sacramental system of Rome…you can add that, that’s okay, that doesn’t fall under the same condemnation. What would require…what would it take for you to join in the Apostolic condemnation with the anathema of something as a false gospel. I would like to know…Evidently, maybe it’s just the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses…or something that’s just way out there some place…who knows.
Jason Wallace (Orthodox Presbyterian Minister of Satan) wrote concerning Galatians 6:14-16 and its application for Arminians:
“So all Arminians are really Judaizers? They are advocating circumcision?” (Jason Wallace, OPMOS)
So if William Lane Craig were to take J-Wall’s lead, he could say to White:
“So all [Roman Catholics] are really Judaizers? They are advocating circumcision?”
James White says that Roman Catholics have “tripled, quadrupled” additional grounds of acceptance with God. No doubt they have done so. But what were the Judaizers doing, Dr. White, that the Arminians haven’t at the very least equaled when it comes to ADDING to the grounds of acceptance with God?
The Judaizers in Galatia, the Roman Catholics, and the Arminians are all in agreement about the necessity of some kind of addition to the work of Christ. This agreement stems from their ignorance of Jesus Christ as the end of law for righteousness (Romans 10:1-4). Since they are ignorant of the only righteousness God accepts, they necessarily seek to establish their own righteousness. Where they differ amongst themselves is about what exactly ought to be added, how much to add, and what is the precise “gracious” nature of this self-righteous enabling.